Downgrading an Award
Typically you will not discover an award has been downgraded until it returns to the unit. This means your ability to appeal the downgrade will be limited by the Soldier’s departure from the unit or the time limit established by AR 600-8-22; within one year from the date of the awarding authorities decision.
If an award is downgraded you have two possible methods of recourse:
Submit your formal appeal in accordance with AR 600-8-22 paragraph 1-16.
Often a discussion with the chain of command will bring to light the reason(s) the award was downgraded. In my experience, this approach is more likely to produce
a successful result.
Consider these points when pursuing either a formal or informal appeal:
- Be sure to gather all your information. Your argument will be much more persuasive if it can be verified with documentation.
- Make sure you have the facts right. Review your documentation for consistency. You must know what you are talking about or your concerns may be quickly dismissed.
- If you discover that you failed to properly support your original write up, rewrite the award so that you have it in hand and can submit it when you speak with the chain of command.
- Rehearse the presentation of your argument prior to your visit with the chain of command.
- Make an appointment to see the chain of command only when you are completely prepared.
- During the meeting explain why you believe the Soldier deserves the award. If you failed to properly support the award, express your willingness to rewrite the recommendation
- If the chain of command decides not to upgrade the award to the level originally submitted and you believe there is a clear inconsistency that you can prove, you may involve the next level of the chain of command or potentially the IG. If no such inconsistency exists and it is a subjective matter, you may have to accept it and move on.
Your award will usually be approved if you do your homework and are careful to base your recommendation on documented facts. The cause of a downgraded award is often a difference of opinion between the leader submitting the award and the approving authority. Do your best to minimize this difference of opinion by understanding the personalities involved and the established unit standard.